Friday, August 31, 2018

My Beloved Do You Know...

I haven't posted much on this blog the past couple of years simply because of busyness. The last two months I've posted almost nothing--and that's because my family suffered a serious tragedy on June 16th. My son, at the age of 18, took his own life. I will not go beyond that statement here--if you know me personally, you know what happened. (I am also not allowing comments on this post--if you know me personally, you have other ways of contacting me.) Otherwise, I'm sorry, it's still too raw for me to go further right now. But I've made promises on Facebook to post about a painting series I recently did, and it's much easier for me to put it all on here than to piece it together with all the photos and links there. This is the series:

At my son's memorial service, we played the video for the song ILLUSION by VNV Nation because it was a song that he connected with and it expressed his feelings about struggling to fit in. (You can watch the video with lyrics HERE.)

After the service, I began listening to more songs by VNV Nation, and one of the first ones I found was BELOVED. The words to this song...they were, and still are, so incredibly meaningful to me. So meaningful, they inspired a painting series. You can read the words (they are written below along with images of the paintings) and you will understand. I promise, though, you will not understand completely. Maybe that sounds arrogant, but no one can fully understand another person's deepest emotions, and while you'll hit the periphery, you will never quite get everything. I'm sure I can't fully understand the inspiration for the lyrics in the first place, not every nuance. This is my interpretation of the lyrics, my expression of how they affected me. 

Each painting is followed by the specific verse that inspired it. They are in order of how the verses appear in the song. After the seventh verse, some of them are repeated, but of course I didn't paint duplicates or different images for repeated verses. I've also included some of the explanation for specific elements, although I will not explain fully the meaning of everything.

Painting #1

It's colder than before
The seasons took all they had come for
Now winter dances here
It seems so fitting don't you think
To dress the ground in white and grey

(This one is pretty obvious.)

Painting #2

It's so quiet I can hear
My thoughts touching every second
That I spent waiting for you
Circumstances afford me
No second chance to tell you
How much I've missed you

(I chose a butterfly because to me they are the most "silent" of all creatures, and they go around touching every flower.)

Painting #3

My beloved do you know
When the warm wind comes again
Another year will start to pass
And please don't ask me why I'm here
Something deeper brought me
Than a need to remember

(This all happened at the beginning of summer when warm winds blow, and when that happens again, a year will have passed.)

Painting #4

We were once young and blessed with wings
No heights could keep us from their reach
No sacred place we did not soar
Still, greater things burned within us
I don't regret the choices that I've made
I know you feel the same

(Again, pretty obvious that mountains are great heights.)

Painting #5

My beloved do you know
How many times I stared at clouds
Thinking that I saw you there
These are feelings that do not pass so easily
I can't forget what we claimed as ours

(Also fairly obvious--the butterfly seeing a butterfly in the clouds. However, in real life I keep seeing dragons.)

Painting #6

Moments lost though time remains
I am so proud of what we were
No pain remains, no feeling
Eternity awaits

(The moments have passed, and butterflies live but a moment, but time continues--the sun will still go up and down. I considered having the wings falling off the butterfly in this one, but I think this captures it well without that imagery.)

Painting #7

Grant me wings that I might fly
My restless soul is longing
No pain remains, no feeling
Eternity awaits

(The butterfly transforms into something much more substantial. Butterflies represent change and rebirth, but as I said above, they are short-lived. Phoenixes represent rebirth that continues. They are much more powerful, can fly farther, go on forever.)

You can listen to the song ILLUSION that inspired the series HERE

Again, there is much more to this, and no, I'm not going to let you into the deepest parts because that is for me alone. But I wanted to share the lyrics that inspired this because music and writing are powerful things, and because while everyone is basically right by saying this painting series is about grieving and healing, it's specifically about THIS song. Thank you, VNV Nation, for touching both my son's life and mine in such a profound way.